I’m not usually a big fan of short stories. However, after finding Ortega-Medina’s Jerusalem Ablaze, I was intrigued. I can’t say much because the book isn’t on sale yet, but I can tell you why you need to pick up a copy when it’s available.
Jerusalem Ablaze is a quick read; it’s filled with short stories, all based on different obsessions. The stories tend to leave you with a feeling of wanting more, to find out what happens after they end. Many of the stories left me feeling like the story was incomplete but, at the same time, like that was all I needed.
Each character has a different personality and motive, so no two stories are the same. Reading this anthology was an emotional roller coaster. At some points, I finished stories feeling happy, but other times, emotions overwhelmed me to the point that I just had to put the book down.
The first of the stories, Torture by Roses, is centered around the idea of learning to hate. Ikeda Yataro is in need of a successor. When he finds one, he decides to teach him how to hate. Going through the story, we see the trials his new successor goes through to be able to take over in his place.
I won’t say any more about this story, but what I will say about the rest of the book is that each story switches narrative points of view. While some stories would be told in first person, others would be told in third person — a few of the stories would even switch the point of view depending on the character speaking at the moment.
The writing and attention to detail kept me engaged through each story. Since the stories take place in different places in the world, the minor details Ortega-Medina included are a nice charm.
I give this book a solid four out of five stars. While the stories are really interesting, the feeling that there could have been more to them kept me from giving it five out of five.
What I will say to finish this review is: If you enjoy reading about a cast of characters that are not wholly good or evil, this is a book that you should definitely pick up.